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James Quinn

GRASP. Learning & Development

Learning & OD Consultant

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Priority of Training Requests


When you set up a new training department, suddenly the hands go up from every manager needing some kind of training intervention.

Of course, they all want theirs asap.

You can make sure the requests align with the company's business strategy/training strategy, but after that, who comes first?

5 Responses

  1. perhaps it depends on the business model……

    ….if the line departments are paying for the training then he who pays most gets in first.

    …..if the line departments are getting the training ‘gratis’ then YOU can pick who gets first lick of the spoon.

    or you could look at it on an impact v effort grid and prioritise it that way.


  2. What if we don’t?

     One very effective question or discussion to have with training requests is ‘What will happen if we don’t train this individual or group?’ The impact of not training might be significant to the organisation, where as other development opportunities may not. 

    Alternatively you could plot on two dimensions the various requests. On the X axis grade costs or time or resource requirement or any other relevant principal metric and on the Y axis plot outcomes, results or benefits using money, productivity or throughput or the principal metric that is important to the organisation. Where the two positions intersect on the matrix indicates its relative significance to requests similarly plotted on the diagram.

    Another option is you could determine the essential assessment criteria you want to review requests against, Costs, Outcomes, Frequency of Use, Contribution to Organisational Objectives, etc etc. Then mark or assess each request against the essential criteria marking it between 1-5. Then review the resulting league table applying common sense to the final selection or sift. Using this system a process called DIF rating was developed. Difficulty (How hard is the knowledge and skill to acquire in order to accomplish the task?) Importance (How important is the learning to the success of the host organisation?) Frequency (How often is the task or job which the knowledge or skill underpins used or employed?)

  3. Thanks Rus & Gary

    Excellent answers as always!

    Plotting these on a graph sounds like a good way of showing management exactly why their requests have/haven’t been a priority.

    I’m going to give this a go.



  4. What about taking a strategic view?

    — Julia Herdman Logiktree Associates Ltd

    Would it be possible to look at training needs in terms of skills gaps that are having the most impact on the delivery of objectives – assuming you know what those gaps are.  If you don’t know what the gaps are then go back to your managers and challenge them with the question. 



Author Profile Picture
James Quinn

Learning & OD Consultant

Read more from James Quinn

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